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Arab League welcomes Bahrain’s rights court proposal

Experts urged to speed up study on court details ahead of Manama forum

Image Credit: Reuters
Demonstrators shout anti-government slogans as they march in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, on Wednesday inprotest against prison sentences for 20 leaders of Bahraini potests last year which were upheld by a court on Tuesday. Bahrain’sking said that it was time for Arabs to set up a pan-Arab court of human rights.
Gulf News

Manama: The Arab League secretary-general has endorsed a Bahrain proposal to set up an Arab human rights court.

The court will be a civilised move that will contribute to the efforts of Arab states to support and encourage human rights, Nabeel Al Arabi said at the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

The ministers urged the Arab League to speed up the study by Arab legal experts to ensure it is ready for a forum to be held in Bahrain later this year to discuss the establishment of the Arab Court of Human Rights.

Several Arab experts have been designated to look into the proposal and to prepare a study while an ad hoc committee was formed in Bahrain to follow up on the details.

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in November called for setting up the court.

“I will propose to our fellow Arab states that we now move concretely toward the creation of an Arab Court of Human Rights to take its proper place on the international stage,” King Hamad said in an address to the nation.

The Bahraini monarch said that it was time for Arabs to set up the pan-Arab court, in line with other international blocs.

“The nations of Europe are routinely held accountable before the European Court in Strasbourg. That Court, through its hundreds of judgements, has set the standards for modern international human rights,” King Hamad said. “The same is true of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica. The whole world benefits from the jurisprudence of these Courts. Surely, this shows us that there is something missing. Surely, the Arab nations, with our ancient transitions of fairness and justice, also have something to contribute. Surely, we too need to show that our officials are subject to a higher law, and that we can be proud of our traditions of respect for human rights,” he said.

King Hamad said that the Arab Charter of Human Rights, supported by Bahrain more than 15 years ago, has not, despite its noble principles, created a system like those of Europe and the Americas.